everything is changing so quickly

This hyacinth, on the left below, has straightened up just in the last few days (see earlier photo below). I think this page proves that Delft Blue is "the" hyacinth variety for forcing - or my favourite anyway! The only downside is it doesn't bloom for Christmas, it's 2 or 3 weeks later, but it gives reliable, excellent results.

biscuit barrel with hyacinth bulb

teal hyacinth vases













This hyacinth is still bent at a 90-degree angle.

Tye amethyst hyacinth vase

these bulb bowls and pots have been a great success this year

I think these are Delft Blue

SylvaC pot with hyacinth bulbs

bulb bowl with Delft Blue hyacinth bulbs

I incorrectly said I though these were Blue Star hyacinths but they can't be because I only bought 3 of those and put them in vases so these must be Delft Blue.

SylvaC pot with hyacinth bulbs

I think these are Delft Blue

Past Times hyacinth bulb bowl

hyacinths first week of January 2014

Finally some large Delft Blue purple hyacinth blooms, in a SylvaC pot.

SylvaC pot with hyacinths

Broste Copenhagen jack-in-the-pulpit hyacinth vases. Not sure which variety these are.

Broste jack-in-the-pulpit vases

Cranberry hyacinth vase with Delft Blue hyacinth bulb.

cranberry hyacinth vase

The bulblet in the first photo below is surprisingly well-developed but still needs to be removed  (see next photo) to allow the main stem and blooms the best chance.

square glass vase used for hyacinth bulbs


square glass vase with hyacinth bulbs

Hyacinth bulb bowl (from Past Times) on the left, crocus bowl on the right.

Delft Blue hyacinths in Past Times bulb bowl

hyacinth bulb bowl with Delft Blue hyacinth bulbs

hyacinth bulb bowl

Biscuit barrel used as a hyacinth planter. It would be nice if the hyacinth wasn't bent over at a 90-degree angle. Sometimes they do that, sometimes they staighten up on their own.

biscuit barrel used as a hyacinth planter

These are the last vases out of the cellar. Some don't look that ready, even after all this time, but I figure if they aren't ready now, they're never going to be. I think that purple one in the middle and the small green one at the bottom have a certain variety of hyacinth - they have quite a different look- will check which ones. On the right in the pot are bulblets and some crocus.

late hyacinth bulbs out of the cellar

This is the worst amaryllis I've ever had. It never bloomed properly, just shriveled up and died.

amaryllis fail

fat hyacinth buds on New Year's Eve 2013

It's raining and cloudy and miserable but I wanted to photograph my bulb vases so I moved the table near the window, tied up the curtain not to block what little light there was and took a few photos. These were my fattest buds. They look ready to burst and that they will have fab blooms but I will wait and see because things often don't turn out as you expect. The small stems in the SylvaC pot are bulblets I planted. They will take a few years to develop. I've never managed to get any to maturity but those look promising so I'm hopeful.

fat hyacinth buds on New Year's Eve 2013

a close-up of one of those fat buds above


hyacinth bulb bowl on new year's eve

The photo above and the one below illustrates possible problems with bulb bowls: the bulbs develop at different rates (the one on the left at the back above hasn't bloomed yet) and the bulb at the right front below doesn't match (the garden centre didn't put the correct variety in the correct bin OR the supplier didn't OR a customer returned it to the wrong bin).

hyacinth bulb bowl on new year's eve

My 3 cobalt blue Tye hyacinth vases with Blue Star hyacinth bulbs.

Tye hyacinth vases

Great British Garden Revival

Anyone else watching the Great British Garden Revival? Gosh, Tom Hart Dyke talking about Victorians and bringing plants indoors and choosing regardless of what's in fashion and not a mention of forcing bulbs! He has his own "approved" list of what you should grow indoors and he doesn't include hyacinths.  signed, Disgusted

hyacinths day after Christmas

amber tulip cup hyacinth vase


Until I bought this amber hyacinth vase, I'd never seen one in this exact shape - and I love it. The cup is more flower-like than similar vases, I would say tulip-like (unlike the similar amber vase below).

forced hyacinths day after Christmas

forced hyacinths day after Christmas

These just came out of the cellar (note there is some overlap with these photos- it was difficult to show them all in the same photo). This is the peak, for me, of the forcing season with about 20 coming out of the cellar on the same day.

forced hyacinth bulbs

forced hyacinth bulbs

forced hyacinth bulbs in vases

This bud is huge. On closer examination it shows the beginning of 2 stems.

The bulb below wasn't sitting in the vase quite right. When I tried to straighten it I realised there was a bulblet, common enough, but I didn't expect it to be so developed under the water. I broke it off and planted it in a pot (photo to follow).

forced hyacinth bulb with bulblet

Pink Pearl forced hyacinths

This is a close-up of the tins above. It's a shame they never bloomed properly. I don't like this variety generally. Its main advantage is that it blooms early, which it did, after a fashion. I think these may be another example of mislabelled bulbs as I can't imagine I bought so many! although I did not note the bulbs in the tins as carefully as I did the vases.

forced Pink Pearl hyacinths planted in tins

These two are ready to be discarded. The one on the left (White Pearl) never bloomed properly. The one on the right (Fondant) only half-bloomed.

2 spent forced hyacinth bulbs

amaryllis in full bloom

Some of the amaryllis are in full bloom (2 of the 4) and they only took 5 weeks. One is not looking good at all (2nd from left) and the last one (far left) is not nearly as full  as the best ones. So somewhat hit and miss on these. For the price (£8.99 each) I want them all to be spectacular. Yesterday I rinsed out all the vases and put in fresh water. I also removed all the rotten roots. 

amaryllis in vases

With limited space and a ridiculous number of vases and pots I have to be brutal and thin the hyacinths as soon as they've bloomed. So I will be discarding these today. Some never bloomed properly. Some are just past their best.

spent hyacinth bulbs in vases

These are worth keeping a little longer.

Pink Pearl hyacinth bulbs in vases

Pink Pearl hyacinth bulbs

Pink Pearl hyacinths

These (below) were in the Jan Bos bin at the garden centre - but they aren't Jan Bos! I'm very disappointed. These were the only Jan Bos hyacinths I bought this year. They look like Pink Pearl.

Pink Pearl hyacinth bulbs

crocus bowl

crocus bowl

more bulbs out of the cellar

This Blue Star hyacinth bulb has distinctive colouring and some of the other purple/blue hyacinths have similar colouring.

hyacinth bulb Blue Star

White Pearl hyacinth ready to come out of the cellar into the light as the bulge of the flower is out of the bulb. NB the bulb has none of the purple colouring as on the bulb above.

hyacinth bulb White Pearl

Another White Pearl hyacinth bulb with that distinctive bulge of the flower out of the bulb.

hyacinth bulb White Pearl

Sometimes it's uncertain if the bulb is ready to come out. The bulb in the Tye vase in the front is not as clear as some of them but I decided it probably was ready.

hyacinth vases

One of my cats, Polly Pocket, overseeing all my bulb forcing.

forcing bulbs

hyacinth and crocus vases

Victorian plant stand with hyacinth vases


I thought this plant stand would be good to put some of my hyacinth vases on as I don't have a window sill in this room.

As usual it was a dark day when I took this photo. Must try again when there's more sun.






Victorian plant stand with hyacinth vases

I took the crocus vases out of the cellar recently. The crocus stems don't have flower bulges like hyacinths but at that height I thought they must be ready to come out.

crocus vases

One of these hyacinth bulbs is definitely ready to come out of the cellar but one of them is not, the others in between . I guess that's the drawback of a bulb bowl with 5 bulbs. I hope they will catch up.

bulb bowl with hyacinth bulbs early December

"just needs water"

I'm not trying to advertise Sainsbury's but I do love seeing indoor bulbs being sold and I love the slogan "just needs water". They really are that easy!

And at 3 pounds for a hyacinth vase including a bulb (top left in the photo below), they are quite affordable.

first hyacinth bulbs out of the cellar

forced hyacinth bulbs in Tate and Lyle golden syrup tins

The warm weather continued so long into the autumn the forced bulbs in the cellar are growing very fast and ready so early to come upstairs. I've never known them to be so early. Usually they need to come up by December 1st and they often aren't ready then but I have quite a few that really seem to need to come up. As shown in these photos, the bulge of the flower is fully out of the bulb. That needs to be the case before bringing the bulbs (in whatever container/vase) into the warmth and light.

forced hyacinth bulbs

forced amaryllis and hyacinth

If only I'd had a supply of these in September.

Tate and Lyle festive edition golden syrup tin

Things to do after the vases and containers are brought into the warmth and light.

1. top up with water

This pink plastic vase needs topping up with water. The lid is quite open and allows more evaporation.

2. remove bulblets

This one must have developed in the weeks it's been in the cellar as I removed any that I noticed back in September when I put the bulbs in the vases.

hyacinth bulb with bulblet

3. top up containers with soil

The roots tend to push up the bulbs so the containers may need to be topped up with soil

hyacinth bulb in tin

4. push the roots down into the vase

Some of the roots here are growing outwards for some reason. I try to push them back into the vase although that will make some of them break off.

hyacinth bulb in Tate and Lyle Golden Syrup tin

As I noted elsewhere, pink flowered bulbs tend to flower earliest. It's no coincidence that all these bulbs are Jan Bos, Pink Pearl, 1 Fondant (pink) and 1 White Pearl (white I assume so why is it so early? we'll have to wait and see). In the past Jan Bos have been the earliest bloomers.


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